The Right Way to Redecorate: 4 Smart Tips to Plan Your New Space

When the going gets hot, the tough get planning! Summer is prime moving time, but once you get those boxes in your house, I give you permission to sit back, relax, and hold off on unpacking until the weather gets just a little cooler. Because here’s the deal: If you plan your space now, you’ll be happier with it in the long term. So here are my decorating rules to contemplate while you wait for the weather to cool down.


Clean first

Whether you’re starting from scratch or just rearranging your bookcase, please, please do not decorate on top of dust bunnies! No, you won’t get to it later, unless later means the day you move out. Take a little time now to give your place a once-over to lay a fresh foundation.

Make a floor plan

These days, there’s an app for that, but there’s nothing wrong with using grid paper and a pencil to draw your layout—or better yet, using painter’s tape to mark your plan directly onto the floor. Think about how you’ll use your space and don’t be surprised if something from your old place doesn’t work in a new room that’s a lot bigger or smaller.

Give it a fresh coat

If the color wasn’t freshened before you move in (or maybe even if it has: bye-bye, Builder’s Beige!), take the time now to paint the walls and touch up the moldings. It will only be a bigger job once you’ve hung paintings and gotten your furniture arranged! Be sure to do it right: Spackle cracks, use primer, and choose one shader lighter on the paint chip than you think you want (you won’t regret it).

Edit, edit, edit

Does your old stuff look a little shabby in your shiny new home? Now’s the time to purge! Don’t just put things out because you had them on display before—decide if you really like something and it really goes with your vision for your new space. If you can’t part with something, try this trick: Leave it in the box, date it, and store it away someplace. Once you realize you haven’t thought about it in six months, it’ll be a lot easier to let it go.


Coyote urine. It’s the reason my hydrangeas actually bloomed this year. (Deer repellent.) And after her thorough sweep of the gardens for chipmunks, it’s what Mary smells like right now. #bathtime Happy Saturday!

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